School will be closed from 4th January except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. Learning has moved online.

St Swithun's Church of England Primary Academy

Valuing individuals, aspiring and achieving together in faith


At St Swithun’s, a child's reading journey initially follows books that are banded by colour. There are general guidelines about which book bands should be covered in each year group. In year 2 for example, children working at age related expectations should be reading books in gold, white or lime bands.

Please remember however that children learn in different ways and make progress at different times. It is possible that there may be seven year olds on book band red and five year olds on book band turquoise. The table at the bottom of the page gives the approximate book bands for each stage in school.

Please note:

  •  As a rough guide, children are expected to reach lime level at around seven years old. Children who read above lime level are reading fairly fluently and although some books are still graded above this level (and may well be given to your child), children are reading such a wide range of material that the banding becomes of less importance.
  •  The books will vary in a number of ways including length, vocabulary and sentence structure This might not always be obvious as there are some picture books with challenging vocabulary and subject matter. The aim is to give the children the skills and opportunity to experience a wide variety of different types of literature. The difference between each colour band is meant to be gradual, so that children do not experience great difficulty as they progress through the scheme.
  •  Alongside their growing ability to decode words, children are taught comprehension skills. Progress through the bands is not supposed to happen too quickly and it is important to ensure that children working in the early bands have secure understanding.
  •  This guidance can only give a rough idea of the right reading level for your child. There will be a wide range of reading abilities in any school year. As a guide, children should be able to read at least 90% of the words on the page without any problem. If the book is too easy, they may become bored. If it's too difficult, they can become frustrated, and may have to concentrate so hard on reading the words that they lose the enjoyment of understanding the story.


A child will not benefit from being rushed through books. It is not a race, it is a journey! Children learn to read at different rates just as they learn to do other things at different rates. If children are rushed through the books they will not achieve the enjoyment and understanding necessary.  Books that they find too difficult will soon put them off reading!


  • Hear your child read every day.
  •  Little and often is more beneficial than a long session once a week.
  •  Think about how long you are reading for - the amount of reading time should not go beyond your child's span of attention.
  •  Pick your timing carefully – it is best not to embark on a reading session when your child is tired.

 Enjoy reading with your child and help them become lifelong readers.


Reading Overview - Phonics Phases - Book Bands – Year Group Expectations


Phonics Phase

Book Band

Year Group Expectations

Phase 1



Phase 2



Phase 3



Phase 3




Phase 3/4


EYFS/Year 1


Phase 4


Year 1

Phase 4/5


Year 1

Phase 5


Year 1

Phase 5


Year 1

Phase 5/6


Year 2

Phase 6


Year 2

Phase 6


Year 2



Year 3



Year 4


Dark blue

Year 5



Year 6